July News from Gloucester Road Traders' Association
Flower baskets, Business Improvement Districts and parking zones
The Gloucester Road Traders’ Association has ordered over 20 sets of flower baskets to be mounted on lamp posts on the Gloucester Road. This has been financed by contributions from the shop owners, money from the public put into collecting tins in many of the shops, and donations from the Neighbourhood Partnership and Bishopston Gardeners Open Day. Many thanks to them all. The baskets are being prepared by the city council’s parks department and we understand they have been delayed by the slow start of the growing season this year and pressure of orders from other parts of the city.
Our chairman, Dan Whelan, spoke at the closing event of the May Community Festival about the association’s plans to apply for the Gloucester Road to become a Business Improvement District (a BID). If the scheme goes ahead it will provide funds to improve and promote the Gloucester Road, for the benefit of the shops and businesses and of the public who use our high unique street, nationally famous for its wide range of independent shops. We are distributing information flyers about how a BID works and arranging consultation meetings with businesses affected. These meetings will start in July and are to generate ideas about how the money that could be raised (potentially up to £100,000 per year) should best be spent. Based on these consultations, a Business Plan and Budget will then be published and an official ballot held in 2014. If enough of the businesses who would have to contribute to the fund vote in favour of the scheme it could be in place by May or November 2014.
Our members are very worried about the Mayor’s plans for residents’ parking zones. The fear is that if people are deterred by parking problems from using the Gloucester Road’s shops and facilities, businesses will have to close and our vibrant high street could eventually be destroyed. We do not want the kind of RPZ here that the council has set up before in other neighbourhoods, where there are few shops to be affected. This comes on top of concerns about the council giving planning permission for a huge Sainsbury’s with free parking, at the Memorial Ground, right on our doorstep.
We are delighted that the University of the West of England has agreed to play a major part in a gift card scheme that could greatly benefit the Gloucester Road shops and businesses. UWE is proposing to give all first-year students a gift card pre-loaded by UWE with £10 to spend only with local independents who take part in the scheme. The hope is that students’ families will also top up the cards with additional money to support their child or relative and encourage them to spend the money wisely. If you want to give someone a present, student or not, and don’t know what to buy them, why not try these cards? Have a look at www.yourstreetgiftcards.com/bristol where you will see the wide range of shops and businesses taking part.